It’s almost summer, and a New England Shrimp Boil might just be on your menu. And you must have butter with that. Clarified butter, to be certain. This is clarified butter, but with some damn fine additions. Initially, I only made a small amount (less than half the recipe), because was just me, back in New England. However, when I came South, I made a large amount and froze it. At the time, I wasn’t certain how is would work and it did work, but I much prefer to make up a decent amount, and store it in the fridge. It keeps for at least a week or two, but it never lasts that long.
To that end, let’s not limit ourselves to using this unctuous elixir with just shrimp. No, No, No. This is wonderful on potatoes, steamed or roasted vegetables, fish, and it turns out, it’s damn fine drizzled over a steak. It goes together in a little more than 5 minutes, but it needs to sit for awhile. You want the garlic and spices to swim around, doing God only knows what, but they will meld, blend and flavor the entire “bath”.
To clarify butter, which by the way, is the same thing as ghee. You simply melt a pound or two of cubed up, unsalted butter, in the fridge, in a heavy pan. Clarified butter keeps forever (like 6 months), in the fridge, so why not do more? It takes about a half hour, but you don’t need to hover over it too much. A heavy pan is essential. Anyway, melt the butter over medium-high heat and continue cooking over medium-high heat. I swirl the pan, that’s why the picture appears out of focus. The butter will “spill” our a layer of white milk proteins; they will float to the surface and as the mixture boils, they will become foamy. Now, lower heat to medium or medium-low and continue to gently simmer until the milk proteins break apart and sink to the bottom of the pan. Those milk solids will become a toasty-brown color, giving the butter a lovely, nutty flavor. Now, you can use this as is, but usually you want to strain those bits out, leaving behind a clear, yellow liquid…clarified butter! To strain the mixture, pour the butter through a cheesecloth-lined strainer or through a coffee filter into a heatproof container. You have to strain the butter while it’s still hot, hot, hot. Let the strained butter cool; transfer to a sealed container, (I use a glass canning jar) and refrigerate until ready to use. You have made clarified butter. Clarified butter should keep for at least 4-6 months in the refrigerator. The bonus with clarifying butter, is that you’ve now raised the smoking point, so the butter won’t burn as easily, so you can cook at higher temperatures.
For this Spiced Garlic Butter with Horseradish, I clarify the butter,
then add the garlic, simmering over lower heat, until the garlic bits brown. For this, I mince the garlic very finely, rather than put the cloves through a press. The slightly larger pieces are less likely to burn during the cooking process.
When the garlic is toasty brown, drop the horseradish in, give it a good stir and that’s it! It’s ready to drizzle or dip or drink…whatever tickles your taste buds!
Spiced Garlic Butter with Horseradish
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter (3 sticks)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 whole cloves
- 4 whole allspice berries
- 1 whole dried Thai chile (optional—I didn’t use one)
- 2-3 tablespoons finely chopped garlic (about 15-20 whole cloves)
- 2-4 tablespoons prepared horseradish
- Sea salt to taste
Place everything, but the garlic, in a heavy small saucepan; heat over a medium-high flame. When the butter is almost melted, reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Continue to simmer. The mixture will foam and the milk solids will sink, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Turn off the heat; add salt to taste. Leave the mixture for 5 minutes. Stir in the horseradish until well mixed. Let sit for at least 2 hours. When the butter is completely cool, pour into a container and refrigerate. Reheat gently until hot. Serve with shrimp, vegetables, steak or whatever your heart desires.
Spiced Garlic Butter with Horseradish Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2018. All rights reserved.